Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Wildland Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Forest, Range and Wildlife Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Neil E. West


Neil E. West


Michael J. Jenkins


James E. Browns


The impetus for this research was the increasing threat of catastrophic wildfires resulting from the accumulation of fuels across the West. Guided by the priorities, goals, and guiding principles outlined by the national fire plan (NFP), the objective was to identify those areas within a pinyon-juniper woodland-dominated landscape with the highest hazard of catastrophic wildfire. The intent was to help managers prioritize proactive fuels management efforts outside of the wildland urban interface (WUI). Based on a management paradigm, constraints were placed on the data collection, analysis, and model development. A geographic information system (GIS) was used to create a hazard assessment at a landscape scale in Tintic Valley, Utah. Hazard categories were a classification of fuels based on crown cover of pinyon-juniper trees, utilizing remotely sensed data. The data set consisted of digital orthophoto quadrangle (DOQ) images from 1993. The methods were developed in three phases. Phase One resulted in a hazard assessment protocol. In Phase Two, data layers were created to further divide the hazard categories into more tractable management units. Phase Three, through the retrospective examination of recent wildfires, indicated the limitations and utility of the assessment technique. The protocol presented provides a relatively fast, inexpensive, and timely hazard classification technique for pinyon-juniper woodlands at a watershed level. It is intended to be used for coarse-scale assessments of fuel hazards for strategic planning purposes. While not appropriate for fire behavior predictions, this assessment can focus managerial efforts for additional tactical planning.